A Look at Blackmagic’s URSA Mini Pro Mirrored SSD Recorder Add-On

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on A Look at Blackmagic’s URSA Mini Pro Mirrored SSD Recorder Add-On
Sep 212017
 

Blackmagic Design showed us their new URSA Mini Pro mirrored SSD recorder add-on at IBC 2017, as well as the newly announced native Nikon mount and mic holder.

URSA Mini Pro Mirrored SSD Recorder

Blackmagic Design has listened to customer requests and developed an SSD recorder for the URSA Mini Pro, which was announced earlier this year. This allows users to to get fast recordings on to larger-capacity media. It attaches to the rear of the URSA Mini Pro and enables you to mirror recordings in the same codec and format that is recorded internally.

The URSA Mini Pro Mirrored SSD Recorder connects via 2 SDI cables to the camera. However Tim tells us that it records the files as original data in the chosen format and not via an SDI stream.

For productions that require multiple sets of rushes, such as for sending to archive or a post-production facility, the new URSA Mini Pro mirrored SSD recording capability allows for a much faster workflow than needing to create copies of sometimes very large files or long video clips.

The choice of using SSDs was due to the low cost and wide availability of the medium. The SSD recorder works in the same way as the Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck, and recommends the same high-speed drives to use in the recorder. It mounts directly onto the camera, and is designed to be used exclusively with the URSA Mini Pro.

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The New Cmotion cPRO Wireless Hand Unit Offers Ultimate Focus Control

 Gear  Comments Off on The New Cmotion cPRO Wireless Hand Unit Offers Ultimate Focus Control
Sep 212017
 

We took a look at the new Cmotion cPRO lens controller, a feature packed, professional hand unit for professional focus assistance with Camin integration.

We saw a very interesting and affordable low end wireless focus control solution with Tilta’s new $399 Nucleus-N yesterday. Today we’re looking at state of the art high end stuff. Here’s what Cmotion had in store during IBC 2017.

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Sony Unveils 3 New 1-inch Sensor Camcorders – AX700, NX80 & Z90

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sony Unveils 3 New 1-inch Sensor Camcorders – AX700, NX80 & Z90
Sep 172017
 

Sony has just announced three new 4K HDR (3840×2160) palm-sized camcorders during IBC 2017 in Amsterdam: the XDCAM PXW-Z90, the NXCAM HXR-NX80 and the Handycam FDR-AX700 with an improved AF system.

The new camcorders have a Sony 1-inch stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, and all three support an instant HDR (High Dynamic Range) workflow with HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma). According to Sony, the most exciting thing about these new camcorders will be the fast Hybrid Autofocus system.

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Olympus E-M10 III – Sample Footage and Exclusive First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on Olympus E-M10 III – Sample Footage and Exclusive First Impressions
Sep 062017
 

Johnnie had a chance to be one of the first to get his hands on the new Olympus E-M10 III and test its video capabilities.

Finally, a short family summer vacation. It is time to pack, leave work behind and slow down to the point that only the necessary body organs are working (brain excluded). But wait, whom am I kidding? The courier just rang the door bell, bringing a small package containing the shiny new Olympus E-M10 III. Now, as a workaholic, my options are limited: cancel my vacation and risk an immediate divorce, or pack my production bag and search for a story to shoot while on vacation. Knowing from past experience that mixing a family activity and work is a bad idea, I decided to leave behind my ambitions of a big production and scale everything down to the minimum. My simple tourist setup consisted of this small new Micro Four Thirds camera, the extremely cheap Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ pancake kit lens and my trusted Heliopan Vari ND filter. THAT’S IT – no tripod, no slider, no gimbal, just pure simplicity. And enough to be reassured that there is no substitute for having fun when filming with a small camera, no matter how good its bigger brothers may perform.

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New Samsung T5 SSD is Super Fast – Enough for 4K Raw?

 Gear  Comments Off on New Samsung T5 SSD is Super Fast – Enough for 4K Raw?
Aug 232017
 

The recently-announced Samsung T5 SSD is a little V-NAND storage beast, capable of throughput speeds up to 540MB/s.

The Samsung T3 has been a popular external SSD for content creators since its introduction in 2016 thanks to its fast transfer speeds, rugged build and small size. Samsung has just updated the T3 with the new T5 version, which features a jump to the USB 3.1 Gen 2 protocol, doubling the potential data transfer rate from 5 to 10Gbps.

The 64-layer V-NAND architecture of the Samsung T5 offers potential transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s, making it one of the fastest external SSDs in the market and in theory fast enough to edit 4K raw footage off of. This is great as it would mean editing off of a single drive rather than from a RAID – the kind of storage system that can offer the required data transfer speed.

Bear in mind, though, that the T5 needs to squeeze every bit of those new 10Gbps it possible can, meaning that in order for the drive to reach its full transfer-speed potential, your computer needs to have a USB 3.1 Gen 2-compatible port. If you are not totally clear on the ins and outs of external drives, ports and transfer protocols, let me point you to this excellent recent article by Tim: Looking For a Fast Portable Drive? It May Not Be As Fast As You Think.

The Samsung T5 features an aluminium unibody for maximum ruggedness, weighs only 51g and is smaller than a business card, keeping with the dimensions of the earlier T3.

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Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom Line – Sample Footage & Review

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom Line – Sample Footage & Review
Aug 172017
 

In this guest review, DP and Director Thomas Schweighofer takes a look at the Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom line during a documentary shoot with a RED EPIC-W Helium 8K. Please also read Graham Sheldon’s extensive review of both Sigma zoom lenses, which we published a few months ago. 

I recently had the chance to shoot a documentary project in the US featuring Austrian musician Dominic Muhrer and American Superstar Joshua Ledet. In order to achieve a better image quality in this particular project, I wanted to get my hands on some of the new Sigma cine primes, but at that point in time it was just too early to get a set. Instead, the folks at Sigma contacted me and told me to test their Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom cine line. I agreed but, being so used to shooting with primes, I didn’t expect too much. 

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Fixed & Downloadable: Sony FS5 Firmware V4.02 with Hybrid Log Gamma

 Gear  Comments Off on Fixed & Downloadable: Sony FS5 Firmware V4.02 with Hybrid Log Gamma
Aug 102017
 

FS5 Firmware V4.02 has just been released, fixing some of the bugs introduced with the highly-anticipated V4.0.

A few weeks ago, Sony aimed to greatly increase the functionality of the Sony FS5 by releasing FS5 Firmware V4, bringing HDR support with the introduction of new Hybrid Log Gamma Picture Profiles, reduced minimum ISO for Slog 2 and 3, as well as support for 120fps continuous shooting with an optional license sold separately (you can read our post on this release HERE).

Only a few days later, however, Sony pulled the download due to “a minor issue found within the HDR function”. This caused concern among users who had already downloaded V4.0, as there is no way of rolling back on this camera’s firmware to a previous instance.

Sony removed the firmware V4.0 download, prompting worries from users.

True to their word, Sony have now released FS5 Firmware V4.02 available for download from HERE. The release notes also finally indicate the “minor issues” introduced with V4.0. From the Sony site:

V4.02 fixes the following issue:

1.      Video image may be recorded with short delay of 2 or 3 frames of audio in other recording modes than AVCHD.

2.      When choosing [HLG1],[HLG2] or [HLG3] in the PictureProfile and CENTER SCAN in the CAMERA/PAINT menu, rebooting the camera may cause brightness and color shift.

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DJI Spark Review – Is it Really Suitable For Professionals?

 Gear  Comments Off on DJI Spark Review – Is it Really Suitable For Professionals?
Aug 012017
 

As a professional filmmaker and DJI Mavic shooter, Tamás Kiss wanted to test the capabilities of the tiny new DJI Spark drone, so he took it to the challenging Icelandic climate to put it through its paces. Here’s his DJI Spark Review, that confirms a lot of the observations I made during my hands-on session with the tiny new drone. – Introduction by Sebastian Wöber.

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Exploring the Limits – Resolution, HDR, HFR and Human Vision, by Richard Lackey

 Technique  Comments Off on Exploring the Limits – Resolution, HDR, HFR and Human Vision, by Richard Lackey
Jul 012017
 

More resolution, High Dynamic Range (HDR), higher frame rates… How exactly do the limits of the human visual system impact our technology?

When is enough, enough? This is one of the most interesting questions brought to mind after a discussion that came up at the recent ARRI Broadcast Day held at Die Fernsehwerft studio facilities in the new creative district of East Berlin Harbour. In a studio filled with international guests from across the industry, Marc Shipman-Mueller – ARRI’s head of camera systems – opened up this topic in a way that has permanently realigned the way I view today’s core developments in digital cinema acquisition, post and delivery.

These are purely my opinions based on an evolving thought process rooted in an exploration of new technology, and not an absolute truth. I may well end up being wrong, and am happy to learn things that may change my views expressed here. In fact, I’d love to open this up to you, and hear some of your thoughts, so I encourage you to leave comments.

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HIVE LIGHTING Wasp 100-C – Omni Color LED Ready to Go!, by Fabian Chaundy

 Cinematography  Comments Off on HIVE LIGHTING Wasp 100-C – Omni Color LED Ready to Go!, by Fabian Chaundy
Jun 142017
 

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, HIVE LIGHTING are just a few weeks away from finally bringing their much-awaited Wasp 100-C LED fixture to market.

Like we originally reported back in December 2016, the Wasp 100-C is an 85W LED spotlight with the kind of output you would get from a 650W tungsten fixture. In addition to the usual advantages of LED — such as lower power consumption and heat generation — the Wasp 100-C also offers Omni Color LED technology, allowing it to reproduce millions of different hues thanks to an array of LEDs of various colours, in addition to pure white.

In comparison to something like the ARRI Skypanel — a very desirable Omni Color LED fixture — the Wasp 100-C comes in a compact form factor that allows it to be a lot more portable than something in a panel form-factor. The light can also be powered with anything above 95Wh, so you can stay mobile with a V-Lock or Gold mount and a D-Tap to 4-pin XLR adapter.

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Apertus AXIOM Beta – Your Open Source Camera. An Update and Recent Footage, by Johnnie Behiri

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Apertus AXIOM Beta – Your Open Source Camera. An Update and Recent Footage, by Johnnie Behiri
Jun 142017
 

It has been a while since we last reported about the status of the apertus AXIOM beta camera, so last week I took the opportunity to meet and talk to Sebastian Pichelhofer who is acting as AXIOM’s project leader, association chairman and one of the software developers, in order to find out what is new and in what shape and status the project currently is.  

AXIOM Beta Developers kit

It was nice to hear and see that this unique open source/open hardware motion picture camera system venture is really moving forward to the point where developers and early adopters alike can now already get their kit. Mind you, if you are an “end user” like me, then the camera is NOT YET ready for us as the enclosure and actual  operating system of the camera are still under development. Without those, operating the camera can be a tedious work.

 

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Sony 18-110mm Review – One-Of-A-Kind Versatile Video & Cine Zoom, by Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sony 18-110mm Review – One-Of-A-Kind Versatile Video & Cine Zoom, by Sebastian Wober
May 192017
 

The conveniently-named Sony E PZ 18-110mm F/4 G OSS lens has been on our radar ever since it was announced in September, as it is one of the only lenses of its kind made for large sensor video cameras. In my Sony 18-110mm review, I will be looking at all the benefits and limitations of this lens. See the video review summary above, or read on for the details.

Sony 18-110mm Review

When looking at the new Sony E PZ 18-110mm F/4 G OSS, it makes sense to first look at its predecessor, the FE PZ 28-135mm F/4 G OSS (Review HERE). Back when Sony introduced their first lens in this series, it was the only “affordable” video lens made for large-sensor cameras with video functionality. Unfortunately, some aspects about it were not ideal: while it gave us a great focal range on full-frame cameras like the Sony a7S and Sony a7S II, the field of view was too narrow on crop sensor cameras (super35) like the Sony FS7, which it actually shipped with as a combo package. Also, the electronic zoom functionality was a big downside for many.

Fast forward to 2016 when Sony introduced the E PZ 18-110 F/4 G OSS, the subject of this 18-110mm review. Tailored to super35, it introduced a manual zoom functionality alongside several other improvements. Now this lens is finally on my desk and, even though the Sony FS7 is out for a shoot, I have no reservations to slap it onto our Sony a6500 to take it for a spin.

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Go Wide with the New Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G, by Adam Plowden

 Gear  Comments Off on Go Wide with the New Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G, by Adam Plowden
May 192017
 

The new Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G are the latest additions to the wide-angle end of their lens line-up for full-frame E-mount cameras.

Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM

Professional video creators and filmmakers have been eagerly anticipating the release of a wide-angle G Master lens, and the wait is finally over. The Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM promises sharpness across the zoom range and throughout apertures, with Sony promoting the extreme aspherical (XA) element – the largest Sony has ever created – to achieve the greatest resolution and lowest image distortion. The Nano AR coating also is supposed to reduce the unwanted flare and ghosting that often plague wide-angle shots.

Eleven aperture blades promise a pleasing circular bokeh, even when shooting at the minimum focus distance of 28cm, where lower-end wide-angle lenses struggle with creating depth and maintaining sharpness.

Two direct drive SSM systems handle the auto-focusing capabilities, working with the floating focus configuration to achieve fast and precise results while remaining quiet in operation, thus catering for both photography and video applications.

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Sony Introduces the S3CA – A Sony a7S II Without Recording Limit by; Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography  Comments Off on Sony Introduces the S3CA – A Sony a7S II Without Recording Limit by; Sebastian Wober
May 022017
 

Many were hoping to see an announcement of something like a “Sony a7S 3” camera at this year’s NAB. Instead, we saw a new version of the Sony a7S II called S3CA. While there is indeed an “S3” in its product name, this is rather a “special version” of the a7S II for certain applications. Here’s all about the new Sony S3CA.

Sony S3CA

The S3CA is an interesting camera – it features the same sensor and processing as the popular Sony a7S II, but doesn’t limit your recording to 30 minutes, meaning your card size is really the deciding factor on how long you can record for.

The Sony a7S II was introduced in 2015 and has made headlines as being one of the best cinema cameras on the market, especially because of its impressive lowlight capabilities (see my lowlight review here).

On top of its a7S II heritage, the S3CA has a slightly smaller, box-shaped and more durable body and it has no screen or buttons – it requires a USB connection with a PC or Mac as a control interface. For some applications this could be a very interesting solution. The S3CA could for example be used during a live production and be controlled from the mixer instead of a camera operator.

The camera on display was hooked up to a computer app, in which I noticed that the image lagged and stuttered. The app, however, is not intended for monitoring. Instead, the camera features an HDMI output up to 4K for monitoring and external recording.

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Panasonic 360 4K Video Camera – A Prototype No Longer by; Graham Sheldon

 Gear  Comments Off on Panasonic 360 4K Video Camera – A Prototype No Longer by; Graham Sheldon
May 022017
 

360 video is still very much the talk of NAB, and Panasonic is not one to be left behind. First announced late last year, the AW-360C10 – AKA the Panasonic 360 camera –  features four cameras shooting at 3840×1920 resolution and uses real-time active stitching. It’s aimed at the live event 360 world and we have all the details below: 

We first announced the Panasonic 360 prototype camera (Panasonic-360C10) and its base unit back in November of 2016 at Inter Bee, and now it seems the camera has made the jump from prototype into production. Four cameras mounted along the head of the unit shoot 4K video at up to 59.94fps in a 2:1 image format ratio, a.k.a equi-rectangular video.

Panasonic is hoping that their low latency system will find a home with sports, concerts, and other live, stadium-based events.

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Samsung Unveils High Dynamic Range 4K LED Cinema Display by; Fabian Chaundy

 HDR TV  Comments Off on Samsung Unveils High Dynamic Range 4K LED Cinema Display by; Fabian Chaundy
Apr 152017
 

The new 34-foot HDR LED cinema display from Samsung aims to offer impressive performance for a new age of the cinema viewing experience.

Samsung’s latest unveiling in cinema technology has clearly been designed for the new age of viewing experience. The 34-foot LED screen design follows the latest trend of High Dynamic Range, a hot topic that many manufacturers have been chasing after in recent times (check out THIS article for a recent example). Its 146fL (foot-Lamberts) make it over 10 times brighter than regular movie projectors, while offering “ultra-contrast and low tone grayscale settings” for contrast ratio of almost infinity:1.

Of course, it also features Cinema 4K resolution of 4,096 x 2,160, one of the features which make it DCI-compliant.

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Leica Thalia Lens Line Announced for Alexa 65 and Vista Vision by; Tim Fok

 Gear  Comments Off on Leica Thalia Lens Line Announced for Alexa 65 and Vista Vision by; Tim Fok
Apr 022017
 

Leica has just announced a new set of primes for the 65mm Cinema format, compatible also with smaller sensor sizes. The Leica Thalia spherical lenses are compact, come in 9 focal lengths, and will cover a 60mm image circle.

The new Leica Thalia lens line.

The Leica Thalia collection has been designed with large format cinema in mind – think Alexa 65 and Vista Vision (RED Weapon 8K VV). The large image circle, however, will also enable their use on smaller, more regularly-used formats in Super35 film and digital.

Leica has announced 9 focal lengths straight off the bat, with no drip-feeding over time: 24, 30, 35, 45, 70, 100, 120, and 180mm, with T-stops ranging from 3.6 to 2.2 (see the graph further down for itemised T stops).

The Thalia lens line features a PL mount, with i Technology contacts for providing metadata.

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Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA is Here by; Jakub Han

 Gear  Comments Off on Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA is Here by; Jakub Han
Apr 022017
 

The new Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed booster ULTRA was recently announced. It uses special materials and allows you to mount PL (Positive lock) full-frame cinema lenses on E-mount Sony cameras and X-mount FUJIFILM cameras.

Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA

The new Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA features a new 5-element/4-group optical design with ultra-high index tantalum-based optical glass, which should improve corner sharpness, distortion, and reduce vignetting.

Just like the original Speed Booster, it reduces crop factor by 0.71x. Given the standard crop factor of 1.5 of most APS-C/Super35 cameras, using the new Speed Booster will result in having almost no crop at all (1.5 x 0.71 = 1.065). Remember that Speed Boosters are designed to only cover an APS-C/Super35 image circle, so on full-frame camera bodies (A7 series, NEX-VG900) the camera needs to be in “APS-C/Super35” capture mode.

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New Marshall 7″ On-Camera Monitor V-LCD70W-SH by; Olof Von Oss

 Gear  Comments Off on New Marshall 7″ On-Camera Monitor V-LCD70W-SH by; Olof Von Oss
Mar 262017
 

Marshall Electronics has just unveiled their latest LCD on-camera monitor, the 7″ V-LCD70W-SH. Originally planned for IBC 2016, it’s now finally available, so let’s have a quick look.

Marshall 7″ V-LCD70W-SH LCD monitor

There’s a wide range of decent on-camera monitors to choose from, and now there’s one more candidate: the new Marshall V-LCD70W-SH. It’s a 7″ HDMI and SDI LCD monitor with pretty much every feature you would expect in this class of monitors.

It features a detachable sun hood that’s also foldable, which can be quite useful for stowing away when not needed. Those tiny brackets look like they may be a little fragile, though…

Folded and extended sun hood.

When the sun hood is attached, all buttons remain accessible as they are located on the outside, which is nice. Three user-customizable buttons for common functions such as focus peaking can be found on the left-hand side of the monitor. The other buttons are for input, menu access and on/off.

In terms of connectivity, you can use both the HDMI and SDI signals as an input. There’s a cross converter built right into the V-LCD70W-SH, so you’re able to loop through whatever signal is needed to a client monitor, for example. As an addition, this 7″ LCD sports a built-in tally light with two colors to choose from: red or green.

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FUJIFILM X-T20 Review – Real World Video Samples and First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on FUJIFILM X-T20 Review – Real World Video Samples and First Impressions
Mar 262017
 

Late last year while visiting Japan, I was fortunate enough to test the FUJIFILM X-T2. Now I’m delighted to have its little sibling before me, the X-T20, which was first announced at the beginning of 2017. I certainly had some expectations in regards to the video capabilities from this little camera, especially knowing how well the bigger X-T2 preformed. Here’s my FUJIFILM X-T20 review, where I will focus on its video performance.

If you have been following the latest developments in our industry, you might agree with me that something good is happening regarding all things FUJI. Besides FUJINON – their optical devision that now brings us quality cinema zoom lenses at a reduced price – FUJIFILM now offers high-quality 4K video throughout their new APS-C line, an indicator that the company is listening to their customers. If I can be a fool and look into the future, I wouldn’t be surprised if FUJIFILM’s ambitions eventually merge, and what we will see is a proper high-quality filming tool to accompany their high-quality glass.

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